Disruptive Leadership for Success
The only constant is change…. So own change. Be your leader of change.
Why follow others that have led your law firm before you?
I do agree it’s important to take key values that have attracted many of your existing clients, but add to these rather than repeat. Take your law firm to a new level.
Take Richard Branson, one of the greatest disruptors.
He could see in the 1970s the airline industry needed a serious customer experience update. He took the time to find out what prospective clients wanted.
A great example, reclining seats with TV screens built-in. No one had ever done this. He went out and found the people to invent, develop and deliver it and shared his vision for the greater opportunity for everyone, including new collaborator Sony.
As a disruptive leader, Branson understood that customers wanted several classes, not just upper and lower class. He invented Premium Economy Class and Upper Class. He was only 21 and had just one aeroplane!
He was a disruptive visionary. Where can you take your law firm?
OK, so say you now have a great vision for your law firm and a plan to get there; but what about everyone else? Don’t automatically assume your partners and staff are on the same bus as you, just because you have announced your vision!
Remember Laker Airways? Freddie Laker was an amazing disruptor and could have taken on the global airline operators. The advice he gave Richard Branson after being squeezed out of the industry, which actually became Virgin’s mantra, was;
“Look after your people, they will look after your customers and ultimately your shareholders will benefit.”
Laker admitted to Branson this was the error that was a huge contributor to his swift downfall.
How will you tackle the changes that lie ahead with your new vision?
You see growth, opportunity and success. Your staff and partners see change, risk, and a direct threat!
Ensure a tremendous amount of time is spent with all of your staff to ensure they understand what’s in it for them. Don’t assume that because you’ve shared the vision with department heads, the same concentrated vision will not become diluted or edited as it cascades through the ranks.
People you may bring in, either full-time or as a non-exec board member, to assist in your law firm’s growth strategy may be challenging but wow, can they make you think differently. What a breath of fresh air!
It’s all about the business plan.
Matrix247 may have the communications technology to enable disruptive positive change, by aligning a communications strategy with your new business plan. But it will struggle to succeed and fly unless you ensure your people, culture and staff attitude have become aligned! This is where you need to demonstrate your skills as a disruptive leader.
In part 2 in this series of articles, I’ll share lessons gained sitting at law firm boardroom tables over 25 years.
For further information about how Matrix247 can share knowledge to benefit your law firm through revolutionary communication technology in the new digital Britain, visit www.matrix247.com/law.
Insight from a disruptive leader in legal
Joanna is Chief Operating Officer at the Jackson Lees Group, an award-winning (large law firm of the year) legal services provider in the North West. Before moving to the Wirral in 2006, she spent seven years at Hogan Lovells in Paris where she transitioned through the ranks from bilingual legal secretary to heading up the HR function through a period of rapid expansion, acquisition and change.
In her role at Jackson Lees, Joanna has responsibility for the Group’s operating infrastructure and for all non-legal functions, including HR, client experience, IT, facilities and marketing. She also sits on the Group’s strategic board.
“A major challenge in the law industry is that there is often such a lack of transparency. Traditional models mean that law firms tend not to share information with their people about their plans which can create a culture of secrecy and unnecessary hierarchy. So many law firms could reap massive rewards by moving away from the model of “the way we’ve always done things”, encouraging more creative thinking, empowering people and allowing people to develop into their “best selves”, rather than meeting all of the requirements of a very rigid role description.
All too often, law firms force their people down the more traditional career paths of law into management rather than allowing them to continue doing what they’re really good at and recruiting in professional managers. Conversely, some lawyers are better leaders than they are lawyers and it’s important to remember/almost guaranteed that it’s not always the best lawyer who makes the best manager.
At Jackson Lees, we invest a tremendous amount of time in developing every individual from Board through to apprentice. We launched a training academy last year to help develop the whole person, rather than simply the technical lawyer, and we encourage our people to find their “why” and to continually thrive and develop. We have a relentless focus on ensuring that our “why”, articulated through our core value of making a positive difference (#MAPD), is embodied at every level of the organisation and in everything we do.
An engaged team is a more productive team and we recently appointed an award-winning outstanding Family lawyer to Head of Culture and Engagement. We may have lost the fee income she generated but the wider value she brings to our business is worth significantly more. This has been borne out in our “In Touch” survey amongst staff where we have seen double-digit increases across all engagement metrics.”